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All Blacks under 'no illusions' of Ireland threat, but SBW says his team will be 'hard to stop'

The All Blacks are under no illusions about the threat of Ireland as Saturday night's Rugby World Cup quarter-final showdown looms.

Coach Steve Hansen says his team will find out on the night if the changes they made since last year’s loss in Dublin have worked.

Ireland have beaten the All Blacks in two of the last three Tests between the teams, after famously breaking a 111-year drought against the men in black in Chicago in 2016.

Despite’s Ireland’s enviable record against New Zealand, which includes the win in Dublin last year, Sonny Bill Williams said the All Blacks remained focused on their preparations.

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Anton Lienert-Brown was given the nod to start at second five-eighth in the do-or-die quarter-final against Ireland. Source: 1 NEWS

“We’re under no illusions, the threat that they pose but for us it’s about bringing the All Blacks’ A -game,” Williams said.

“That’s what we’re about and I think for myself, being involved with this team, if we get our mental prep right, come with that attitude and intent well then, we’re going to be hard to stop.”

“They’re always a threat, they’re a world class team, they were number one in the world a few weeks before the tournament.”

Hansen said opportunities were few and far between against the miserly Irish, who stuck to their structures with great success.

“They’re tenacious, they play a pretty structured game, they’re very good at what they know they’re good at it,’ Hansen said.

“They don’t wander too far off the script, they’re not a team that give you a lot of opportunities through mistakes.”

Hansen also highlighted the Irish kicking game as a key part of the game that they would have to defuse, something All Black wingers George Bridge and Sevu Reece were well aware of.

“They’re pretty good at keeping the ball when they keep it and when they kick it, they kick it to put you under pressure not to give you a free shot,’ Hansen said.

“We’ve made a lot of changes since we last played them, so we’ll see if those changes work or not.”

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But SBW says if New Zealand have the right intent on Saturday, they will be hard to stop. Source: 1 NEWS